Hurricanes Irma and Maria decimated much of the British Virgin Islands in 2017. Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Services quickly deployed teams and sent emergency food, water, and supplies to survivors. Because of the devastation to the country’s infrastructure, the most effective way to help families was to charter a massive ship outfitted with hundreds of thousands of gallons of fresh water, 3 million meals, and tons of relief supplies.
How we get food, water, and relief supplies to their final destinations can vary for each of our programs:
For Community Events and Rural Compassion Initiative, we transport relief almost always via trucks. Our fleet of semis and tractor-trailers does the majority of the hauling, though we occasionally contract the work out if a response is particularly demanding.
For our international initiatives — Children’s Feeding, Agriculture, and Women’s Empowerment — distribution is as unique as the countries they arrive in. Planes, barges, boats, trucks, and cars can all play a part in getting food, water, and other supplies to the more than 1,300 communities we work in throughout 18 countries.
Disaster Services can fall into either category. If a disaster occurs in the U.S., supplies usually arrive by truck. If it is an international disaster, they can arrive in a variety of ways, including by boat! Oftentimes, supplies are purchased within the country itself or in a neighboring country to expedite the process. (It can take weeks for a container to ship from the U.S.)
Since 1994, we’ve used donkeys, tractor-trailers, airplanes, forklifts, skidsteers, boats, and good old-fashioned humanpower to deliver relief to some of the hardest-to-reach places on earth. We’re not afraid to go to great and creative lengths to make sure the hungry are fed.
During Convoy of Hope’s response to hurricanes Maria and Irma, the opportunity to do something big — really big — appeared on the horizon. Convoy of Hope chartered the Roger White, a 300-foot shipping vessel, to bring $2 million worth of food, water, and relief supplies to the islands’ residents.